Part of a positive working environment includes having the opportunity to grow in your career and have the resources needed to do so. I have worked in IT (Information Technology) for 16+ years across two countries, three cities, and for companies that range in size from a dozen to 300K+ people. From my experience, company size plays an important role when it comes to career development and successful working environments.
Here are some key things I have learned from working across organizations of all sizes. Regardless of the time of my experiences, how the different transformations of IT have impacted them and, putting aside the fact that our modern definition of ‘office’ now extends beyond the physical location of a company to encompass working from home, there is a cultural aspect that grows based on the simple act of having a group of people focused on a particular task, even if it is a virtual, multicultural one.
Professional Development Opportunities
I assumed larger companies would have increased budgets for things like professional development and access to the latest technology. However, in my experience, they struggle to distribute and allocate it wisely and safely.
They also have larger departments managing the process, which usually leads to more paperwork and longer approval processes. It becomes a combination of either being part of teams that are on top priority projects that open agile ways of getting access to such resources, or, become part of teams that must spend valuable time justifying their budgets. On the flip side, while smaller companies can move through this process quicker, they tend to have less budget for these opportunities.
Large companies usually face the challenge of finding ways to get bottom-up initiatives and depending on the vision of the upper management, cascading of goals and plans could take too long to reach the individual contributors. It was common to see how those big initiatives became essential and caused people to become incumbent, restricting with it their chances to move on to different roles or areas. Unfortunately, the workforce morale takes a hit in such cases, and transitioning to other teams becomes an almost impossible task. The common upside of these companies used to be that they were less impacted by financial problems and they used to offer different, more attractive perks that would help have a nice office space and work-life balance. With remote work becoming more popular, I am not sure this is still the case though.
I have had the opportunity to work for consultancy companies also ranging in sizes from a dozen to 100K+ people. I have personally found a nice balance in a company of the size of Affirma, where you can feel both parts of the spectrum. I think the agility is a consequence of the multiple projects it runs for multiple clients with so many different contractual guidelines, limitations but also allowances. As an engineer, I love the challenges that come from the large portfolio and the variety of opportunities to look and engage on projects where you can share your strengths and reduce your weaknesses. I think Affirma can better deliver to the promise of customer satisfaction than a larger company because of its agility to adapt to customer’s needs.